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Campaigner Donna Price Sean Murray/
no tolerance policy

'You cannot condone a drink-driver taking the lives of our children. We need this legislation'

A road safety campaigner called on all politicians to back new drink-driving legislation outside Leinster House yesterday.

DONNA PRICE’S SON died in a crash on the roads while on his way to college in 2006.

She’ll said she’ll never know if drink-driving was a cause in the crash that caused his death, as mandatory testing for alcohol had not yet been implemented at that time.

Speaking outside Leinster House yesterday, Price issued a call for politicians to back new drink-driving legislation that would see drivers caught above the legal alcohol limit automatically suspended from driving.

She said: “We’ve lost 117 lives on the roads already this year. People are continuing to take a chance to drink and drive.

Our politicians have been given the power to save lives… You cannot condone a drink-driver taking the lives of our children.

“No exceptions”

The Road Traffic Amendment Bill, which Minister for Transport Shane Ross has championed, would see an automatic three-month suspension handed down to those caught with 50-80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. It has not yet been passed into law.

Currently those caught within that limit are given penalty points and a fine.

When announcing his plans earlier this year, Ross said: “If you drink and drive, you’re off the road – no exceptions. We want the message to go out that if you drink and drive you will be caught.”

drug testing Minister Shane Ross has championed the proposals Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

The new measure has its opponents in Leinster House, however, with Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae making headlines for claims such as “nobody caused a fatality by having three glasses of Guinness drank”.

Another vocal opponent has been Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy, who previously told that Ross has not produced any evidence to support the proposals.

He said: “The minister should outline how he plans to reduce the number of deaths on our roads by deterring drink-driving. I should have thought that top of his agenda would be lobbying hard to have traffic corps numbers increased.

Minister Ross is clearly losing the evidence based arguments on this issue.

“A dangerous precedent”

Speaking yesterday, Price, who is a member of the Irish Road Victims Association, said that politicians not backing road safety legislation was setting “a dangerous precedent”.

“In the past, this legislation has always been supported,” she said. “It’s always enjoyed cross party support. We would appeal to our public representatives to take the interests of their constituents… and come out and publicly support the legislation.”

When asked about certain parties and TDs not supporting the legislation, Price said that she and other members of the association were “very upset at the stance being taken”.

She said: “We know that even one drink can impair your driving. A fine and penalty points isn’t an effective deterrent.

Our families are deeply upset with the position being taken by our public representatives. Our families’ lives matter. We’ve lost our children on the road in drink-driving related collisions. Rural lives matter. We feel this is legislation the public wants.

With reporting from Christina Finn

Read: ‘Danny Healy Rae’s drink-driving comments are callous, I won’t accommodate his fantasies’

Read: ‘It’s an insult to my little boy’: Families who lost loved ones to drunk-drivers slam politicians opposing new law

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